By Word of Mouth impresses

Digital editor Carina Claassens spends a morning in Jo’burg with catering company By Word of Mouth

I’ve attended so many functions – from cocktail parties to award ceremonies – catered by Jo’burg-based company By Word of Mouth. Although I always enjoy the food (maybe a little too much), I’ve never realised how much passion, love and dedication goes into planning these events.

Together with a group of media representatives, I had the pleasure of spending a whole morning with the founder, Karen Short, on a tour of all that this diverse company has to offer.

We started at the Inanda Club in Sandton for a delicious breakfast as well as a tour of the beautiful grounds, including By Word of Mouth’s venue The Polo Room. What makes this venue so amazing is that it’s in the heart of Sandton but somehow it feels like you’re on a farm in the English country side.

The delicious breakfast spread we could help ourselves to.

We then jumped into a minivan to visit the head office in Linbro Park as well as the corporate restaurants at the two greenest buildings in South Africa, EY and the Standard Bank building in Rosebank.

With their panoramic views of the city and amazing architecture these two building are well worth a visit and By Word of Mouth caters for both of these corporate environments. Meals are prepared using the best of the best of seasonal produce. The menus are thought out with care and even those on the Tim Noakes diet are accommodated with options of high-fat breakfasts and lunches.

The beautiful view of the Inanda Club from the EY building.

The ‘food court’ in the Standard Bank building is open to the public so anyone can enjoy the fantastic food and bustling atmosphere. A big wooden tree-like structure spanning the area adds to a contemporary yet organic feel and the sliding doors let in plenty of natural light. I can’t imagine employees wanting to have lunch anywhere else.

Some of the treats available at the EY and Standard Bank ‘food courts’ – from healthy salads to cakes and sweets and even flowers.

The company pays so much attention to detail and I can with all honesty say that their kitchen is the cleanest I’ve ever seen. They are the only catering company in South Africa that uses refrigerated transport trucks, meaning food isn’t easily contaminated. They also test absolutely everything that comes into their kitchen.

One thing that I loved about the company is that they waste as little as possible. All food returned from events is reworked and repackaged – if still edible of course. The packaged food is then distributed among underprivileged, child-headed households in townships around Jo’burg. By Word of Mouth currently feeds more than 1 500 people by reusing their food.

Another point to mention is that they do much more than food. They plan events, weddings, arrange flowers as well as hire out decor. In their corporate restaurants they even sell bouquets and you can take meals home for dinner.

After a morning with By Word of Mouth it’s obvious that this is much more than a catering company. Many of the 300 employees have been there since the start of the company in 1993 adding a very close-knit sense of family to the work environment.

One word to sum up the day? Impressive.

For more information about this amazing company visit

Happy event planning,